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Preparing Your Home To Sell - Part II

Dilip and Sara Varghese

What really is “staging a property?”
Home staging is the process of preparing a home for sale, regardless of price or location. Staging focuses on simple steps to make your home show like a model house without spending a lot of money. To be competitive, your house should be priced right and look better than the others. It's essential to present your house in the best possible light. Just try to remember how you felt when looking for a home and how many you passed over because they didn't look good. Here are some tips for the inside and staging the outside of the home.

Garage and basement:

Keep everything neat and uncluttered. Put everything away that is not part of the decor. Oil squeaking door hinges, tighten loose cabinet knobs and fix faulty wall switches. Organize or pack away tools not in use and discard boxes and scrap materials.

The outside
The outside of the home is one of the most important areas because it is what the buyer sees first. A clutter-free yard and well-maintained house are essential in luring the buyer inside. "It is a great idea to stage the front of the house where the eye is drawn toward the entrance, the look will lure people inside. The front entrance of the house should be clean, including the front door mat. Also, make sure the doorbell works, Rawls said. Shine any brass fixtures and make the patio look inviting and relaxing.

Here are some more tips on staging the outside of a home:
1.    Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc. Throw away anything not needed or not in use.
2.    Check, repair and clean gutters.
3.    Look at all plants. Prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows. You can't sell a house no one can see, Templeton said. Weed and then mulch all planting areas and remove dead plants and shrubs.
4.    Keep the lawn regularly cut, edged and fertilized.
5.    Clear patios or decks of all small items that clutter, such as small planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbecues, toys. etc. A few large items work best in these types of spaces.
6.    Sweep all walkways, including the ones in the backyard.
7.    Wash the outside of all windows.
8.    Check paint and wood conditions of the house _ especially the front door and trim. Repair all wood rot and paint what is needed.
9.    Park extra cars away from the house so the buyer can have a clear picture of the home when pulling into the driveway.
10.    The last leg in staging the outside of a home is the neighbors. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they are part of the picture, too. If there is something untidy about the property next door ask the owner about taking care of it or offer to help. A purchaser is buying into the neighborhood as well as buying a house.

Here are some tips for the inside of your home:
1.    Clear all unnecessary objects throughout the house.
2.    Replace all dim light bulbs with bright bulbs especially in the kitchen and bathrooms..
3.    Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn't been used for three months, pack it away.
4.    Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, pictures, etc. A sparse kitchen helps the buyer mentally move his or her own things into your kitchen.
5.    Rearrange or remove some of the furniture if necessary. Thin out a room as much as possible to make the room appear larger.
6.    Take down or rearrange certain pictures or objects on the walls. Patch and paint if necessary.
7.    Get the carpets cleaned or replaced.

Showing your house:
1.    If possible, have all family members out of the house while a potential buyer is looking through it.
2.    Leave on some lights, if not all.
3.    During showings turn on all lights and lamps and open all drapes and curtains.
4.    Have light music on during the day for a viewing.
5.    Move all pets out of the house if possible; if not, leave them locked up in the garage.  Leave a note on the garage door.

(Dilip and Sara Varghese are with Keller William Realty and can be reached at 978.821.4494. )

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